Midlothian’s 100 Objects - Penicuik Free Gardener Lodge

The charter for the Ancient Order of Free Gardeners, Thistle Lodge, Penicuik. Photo: Penicuik Historical Society/Scran
The charter for the Ancient Order of Free Gardeners, Thistle Lodge, Penicuik. Photo: Penicuik Historical Society/Scran

This document, which dates back to 1822, relates to the Ancient Order of Free Gardeners, Thistle Lodge, which was based in Penicuik.

Each Free Gardener Lodge held its own charter, without which a lodge could not be officially recognised.

The charter for the Ancient Order of Free Gardeners, Thistle Lodge, Penicuik. Photo: Penicuik Historical Society/Scran

The charter for the Ancient Order of Free Gardeners, Thistle Lodge, Penicuik. Photo: Penicuik Historical Society/Scran

The Penicuik charter is a mix of symbolic literature, history of the charter, and requirements of the Lodge.

This charter is signed by five Lodge members, and is decorated with three ribbons, coloured purple, pink and green.

These would have originally been attached to the lodge seal but this is missing.

Its initial text is very symbolic: ‘Light ariseth in the East and shines unto the West, unto all Free Gardeners, enlightened on the face of the Terrestrial Globe. In the East is the place of Light where Reigns, Silence, Harmony and Peace.’

Free Gardeners can be traced back to a lodge in existence in Haddington in 1676. The Penicuik lodge was formed in 1822 and became a Friendly Society in 1874.

Photo: Penicuik Historical Society/Scran

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